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(en) France, Organisation Communiste Libertarie (OCL) - The new PKK unleashed a social revolution in Kurdistan (fr, pt) [machine translation]
Wed, 03 Sep 2014 13:32:51 +0300
By way of introduction ---- The positions and policies of the party references Kurdish PKK
national liberation open with Turkey war began to change in the late 1990s, when its
leader Abdullah Öcalan, imprisoned for life in the post-Soviet context of collapse of
"actually existing socialism", discovered the theoretical reflections of social ecology
developed by the activist and intellectual anarchist-communist Murray Bookchin étatsunien.
---- The PKK has endorsed and adapted the ideas of the influential and controversial
anarchist theorist, as well as other intellectuals and movements (such as the Zapatistas)
and has integrated its own proposal, the Democratic confederalism. The latter began to be
implemented in the organizational structures of the Kurdish liberation movement and the
territories in which it has a presence, founding peoples of the Confederation of Kurdistan
(KCK) and by boosting a new dynamic: a movement social transformation assembléiste and
federalist, supporting the 'national question' and trying to be a political response backs
to diagram of the nation-state and its impasses.
singular dynamics under the regional context in that it opposes frontally all the dominant
trends in competition or conflict; defending secularism, equality, women's liberation and
the struggle against patriarchy, experimenting economy (of war) to break with capitalism
and productivism, reinventing and putting into practice a re-appropriation of politics by
establishment of an embryo territorial political autonomy, the establishment of a power of
local and municipal assemblies and exceeding separations and incarcerations identity by
taking into account the existence of minorities and singularity and plurality of social
issues... Vast site.
In recent months, the guerrillas - men and women - of the Turkish PKK moved first to Syria
and then recently in Iraq to fight jihadist forces the Islamic State alongside their
comrades in other branches of the national liberation movement and Social Kurdish. These
fighter-es are now the only ones to stand up to the jihadists, Syria and Iraq, the only
practical to encourage and help people to create their own self-defense units (especially
right now the Yezidi refugees expelled from the region of Sinjar) and to push back the
Islamists, to rout them, despite the imbalance, particularly on the material plane of
We have largely addressed the issues at several levels of the "Kurdish revolution"
underway on this site or Alternatieve Current and will continue to do so. Because today,
the policy proposal of the Kurdish movement beyond the scope of single Kurdistan and its
internal conflicts. It begins to appear - and this is seen in the context of the balance
sheet, the failure of insiders in 2011-2012 called "Arab Spring" revolutionary process,
and then questions started by this sequence and since remained unanswered - as a tangible
proposal reopens a perspective as a valid response for the entire Mediterranean and Middle
Eastern macro-region: an alternative to all systems of oppression, without exception, from
the territorial divisions of the colonial era and of the 1st World War, both the rags of
the "Arab nationalism" one-party and related military dictatorships, different variants of
political Islam, the various oil monarchies of the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf,
the pseudo-democracies capitalist oligarchies / imperialist Western fashion.
Here we publish a translation of a recently published in English, which has, once again,
the contents of the proposals and applied by the movements of the Left Kurdish and update
It goes without saying that, like other texts and documents that we publish regularly, it
reflects only the views of its author. If we assume the publication is, firstly, because
we find the issues and concerns that are close to us, but on the other hand, and
especially by what he brings as elements of information, understanding and analysis of the
conflicts, wars, social transformation process underway that we are no strangers and now
greatly draw a map of the world (geographic, social, political...) that us, simply because
it includes us and we will determine.
August 31, 2014 - XYZ / OCLibertaire
The new PKK unleashed a social revolution in Kurdistan
Rafael Taylor, August 17, 2014
[ROARmag - Reflections on a Revolution ].
As the prospect of Kurdish independence became more and more imminent, the Kurdistan
Workers Party (PKK) has turned into a force fighting for radical democracy.
Excluded from the negotiations and betrayed by the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 by the
Allies of World War I who promised their own state after the partition of the Ottoman
Empire, the Kurds are the largest stateless minority in the world. But today, with the
exception of a stubborn Iran, there remain some obstacles to Kurdish independence de jure
in northern Iraq. Turkey and Israel have pledged their support, while the hands of Syria
and Iraq are linked by the rapid progress of the Islamic State (formerly EIIL).
With the Kurdish flag flying on all official buildings and peshmerga [Armed Forces of the
Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraqi Kurdistan. NdT] now the Islamists at the door of
Kurdistan through an American military aid long-awaited Southern Kurdistan (Iraq) joined
their comrades in the Western Kurdistan (Syria) as the second autonomous region de facto
the new Kurdistan. They have already started exporting their own oil and resumed oil-rich
region of Kirkuk, they have their own elected parliament, secular and pluralistic society.
They made their application for recognition as a state at the UN and there is nothing that
the Iraqi government can do that-or the United States want to do without the support of
Israel - to stop it.
The Kurdish struggle, however, is far from being narrowly nationalistic. In the mountains
above Arbil, in the historic heart of Kurdistan, which winds through the borders of
Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, a social revolution was born.
Image: Current Map of Syria and Iraq. Yellow in northern Syria are controlled by the Kurds
of Syria, in green in the northern Iraqi areas are controlled by the Iraqi Kurds (source:
Wikimedia Commons) areas.
The theory of democratic confederalism
At the turn of the century, while the radical étatsunien Murray Bookchin had failed in his
attempt to revitalize the contemporary anarchist movement with its philosophy of social
ecology, Abdullah Öcalan, the founder and leader of the PKK, was arrested in Kenya by
Turkish authorities and sentenced to death for treason. In the years that followed, the
old anarchist gained an unlikely supporter in the hardened militant, whose paramilitary
organization - the Kurdistan Workers' Party - is widely regarded as a terrorist
organization to lead a violent national liberation war against Turkey.
In his years of solitary confinement - the PKK leader is behind bars since his sentence
was commuted to life imprisonment - Öcalan has adopted a form of libertarian socialism so
obscure that few anarchists had heard: the Libertarian Municipalism Bookchin. Ocalan was
subsequently modified and renamed attenuated vision Bookchin as the "democratic
confederalism" with the result that the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK Koma Civakên
or Kurdistan), territorial experience PKK a free society based on direct democracy, has
remained largely a secret to most anarchists, and more for the general public.
Although the conversion Öcalan was the turning point, the rebirth of a wider literature
and independent libertarian left began to blow in the mountains and passed from hand to
hand among the base of the movement after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s.
"(They) were analyzed books and articles philosophers, feminists, of (neo) anarchists,
libertarian communists, communalists and social ecologists. Thus writers such as Murray
Bookchin (and others) have their attention ", says the Kurdish militant Ercan Ayboga.
Öcalan was launched in his writings from prison into a deep review and criticism of the
terrible violence, dogmatism, the personality cult and authoritarianism that had favored:
"It became clear that our Theoretically, our program and praxis of the 1970s produced
nothing but a vain separatism and violence, and, what is worse, that nationalism which we
should oppose, has plagued us all. Even if we were opposed to his principles and his
rhetoric, we have nevertheless accepted as inevitable". Once the undisputed leader, Ocalan
said that the "dogmatism thrives on abstract truths that become common ways of thinking.
Once you put these general truths into words, you feel like a high priest in the service
of his god. This is the mistake I made."
Öcalan, atheist, has written of late as a free thinker, free from mythology
Marxist-Leninist account. He said he was looking for an "alternative to capitalism" and a
"replacement model of the ruined..." actually existing socialism '" when he met Bookchin.
His theory of democratic confederalism developed from a combination of intellectual
inspiration communalist of "movements like the Zapatistas" and other historical factors
from the fight Northern Kurdistan (Turkey). Öcalan declared himself that he was a student
of Bookchin, and after the failure of an electronic correspondence with old theorist, who
was with great regret too ill to continue in 2004 an exchange of correspondence from his
deathbed The PKK has honored him by declaring that he was "one of the greatest social
scientists of the twentieth century" to mark the second anniversary of his death.
The practice of democratic confederalism
The PKK has apparently followed his leader, not only through the specific label Bookchin
eco-anarchism, but also by actively internalizing this new philosophy in its strategy and
tactics. The movement has abandoned its bloody war for the Stalinist / Maoist revolution
and the methods of terror that accompanied it, and began to consider a largely non-violent
strategy for greater regional autonomy.
After decades of fratricidal betrayal, to cease fire and missed no future, arbitrary
detentions and times of hostilities on April 25 this year, the PKK announced an immediate
withdrawal of its forces from Turkey and their redeployment in northern Iraq, ending a
30-year conflict with the Turkish state. The Turkish government has undertaken
simultaneously in a process of constitutional and legal reform to devote human and
cultural rights of the Kurdish minority within its borders. This is the latest in a
long-awaited between Öcalan and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan negotiation as part of a
peace process that began in 2012 There was no violence by the PKK for a year and
reasonable have been calls for the PKK to be removed from the global list of terrorist
It remains, however, a dark story attached to PKK authoritarian practices that do not fit
with his new libertarian rhetoric. At various times, its branches have been accused or
suspected of raising funds for heroin trafficking, extortion, forced recruitment and
extortion large scale. If this is true, there is no excuse for this kind of opportunism
mafia, despite the obvious irony that genocidal Turkish state itself was largely financed
by the lucrative monopoly on legal export to West of opiates "medical" cultivated by the
state, and made possible by compulsory military service and taxes for a huge anti-terror
budget and armed forces oversized (Turkey has the second largest army in NATO after United
This is the usual hypocrisy in the war against terrorism: when national liberation
movements mimic the brutality of the state, it is invariably not shown designated as
terrorists. Öcalan himself described this shameful period as one of "gangs within our
organization and openly practice banditry, [which] organized acts dangerous, useless,
sending mass of young people to death".
Anarchist currents in the fight
As a further sign that he abandoned his Marxist-Leninist orientation, the PKK began making
explicit overtures to the international anarchism, even hosting a workshop at the
Anarchist International Meeting of Saint-Imier, Switzerland in 2012, which caused
confusion, disarray and online discussions, but went largely unnoticed in the anarchist
press in general.
Janet Biehl, widow of Bookchin, is one of the few Western anarchists who studied KCK in
the field and has written about his experiences on the website New Compass also sharing
talks with Kurdish radicals involved in day to day operations of democratic assemblies and
federal structures, as well as the English translation and publication of the first
anarchist major study in the form of a book on the topic: Democratic autonomy in Northern
Kurdistan: Movement Councils Liberation Gender and Ecology (2013) [ Democratic Autonomy in
North Kurdistan: The Council Movement, Gender Liberation, and Ecology].
The only other English anarchist voice is the Kurdistan Anarchist Forum (KAF), a pacifist
group of Iraqi Kurds living in Europe who claim not to have "links with other leftist
groups". While supporting a federal Kurdistan, the KAF said he "will not support the PKK
when it has completely abandoned the armed struggle, participate in the organization of
popular movements as a basis for meeting the social needs of the population, denounce and
dismantle its methods of struggle centralized and hierarchical and rather become a
federation of autonomous local groups, cut all ties and relations with states in the
Middle East and the West, denounced the policy of charismatic power, and will be converted
to the anti-statism and anti-authoritarianism, only then we will be happy to cooperate
fully with them."
In the following text in Bookchin
That day (except pacifism) may not be far off. The PKK / KCK seems to follow the social
ecology of Bookchin to the letter, with almost everything, up to and including his
contradictory participation in the state apparatus by the elections, as was prescribed in
his American anarchist writings.
As written by Joost Jongerden and Ahmed Akkaya, "Bookchin's work distinguishes between two
conceptions of politics, the Greek and the Roman model model", that is to say, direct
democracy and representative democracy. Bookchin sees his form of neo-anarchism as a
practical revival of the ancient Athenian revolution. "model of Athens are as against the
current, and an underground stream, finding expression in the Paris Commune of 1871,
boards ( soviets) in the debut of the 1917 revolution in Russia and the Spanish revolution
Communalism Bookchin contains a five-step approach:
Empower existing municipalities through the law to locate the decision-making power.
Democratize these municipalities through base assemblies.
Uniting municipalities "in regional networks and wider confederations [...] work gradually
replace nation-states by municipal confederations" while ensuring that "the highest levels
of the confederation are mainly functions of coordination and administration".
"Joining progressive social movements" to strengthen civil society and establish "a common
focal point for initiatives and movements of all citizens": the assemblies. This
cooperation is not designed "because we would expect to always find a harmonious consensus
but rather because we believe in disagreement and deliberation. A company develops the
debates and conflicts". In addition, the meetings must be secular struggle "against
religious influences on politics and government" and must become "an arena of class struggle."
To realize his vision of a "classless society based on collective political control of
socially important means of production", it is called the "municipalization of the
economy" and the establishment of a " confederal allocation of resources to ensure
regional balance ". In simple terms, this is equivalent to a combination of
self-management and participatory planning to meet social needs: a classic anarchist economy.
As said Eirik Eiglad, former editor and analyst Bookchin KCK:
Of particular importance is the need to combine the ideas of feminist and progressive
environmentalists with new urban movements and citizen initiatives, as well as trade
unions, cooperatives and local community...
We believe communalist ideas of one based on assemblies democracy can help to bring this
progressive exchange of ideas on a more permanent basis, and with more direct political
consequences. Yet communalism is not only a tactical means to unite these radical
movements. Our call for municipal democracy is an attempt to bring reason and ethics to
the outpost public debates.
For Ocalan, democratic confederalism means a "democratic society, ecological and gender
liberated", or simply "democracy without the state". He explicitly opposes the "capitalist
modernity" and "modern democracy", in which "the three former basics: capitalism, the
nation-state and industrialism" are replaced by "a democratic nation, and communal
economy. ecological industry " This means "three projects: one for the democratic
republic, one for the Democratic confederalism and for democratic self-government";
The concept of "democratic republic" refers primarily to the procurement, long denied,
citizenship and civil rights of the Kurds, including the ability to speak and teach their
language freely. Democratic autonomy and democratic confederalism make reference to both
"autonomous capacities of people and a more direct form of political structure, less
Meanwhile, Jongerden Akkaya and stressed that "the free model Municipalism aims to achieve
bottom-up approach (" bottom-up ") in the design and operation of a participatory
administrative body, from local to provincial". The "concept of free citizens ( ozgur
yarttas ) [is] a starting point " which "includes basic civil liberties such as freedom of
expression and organization". The basic units of the model are the neighborhood assemblies
or "advice" as they are called either.
There popular participation in the councils, including from non-Kurdish people, and while
the neighborhood assemblies are strong in several provinces, "in Diyarbakir, the largest
city in Turkish Kurdistan, there are meetings almost everywhere. " Moreover, "in the
provinces of Hakkari and Sirnak... there are two parallel authorities [KCK and State],
including democratic confederal structure is the most powerful in practice. " The KCK in
Turkey "is organized at the village level (köy), urban area (mahalle), district (Ilce),
city (Kent), and region (Bölge), which is called "Kurdistan North."
The "higher" the federation in northern Kurdistan level, the DTK (Democratic Society
Congress) is a mixture of shop stewards elected by their peers with revocable mandates,
which constitute 60% of all representatives and to "more than five hundred organizations
of civil society, trade unions and political parties" that make up the remaining 40%, of
which about 6% are "reserved for representatives of religious minorities, academics and
other professionals and others with a particular point of view."
The proportion within 40% of those who are similarly delegated directly Groups democratic
civil society and non-statist compared to those who were not elected or are appointed by
the bureaucracies of political parties is unclear. The overlap of individuals between
independent Kurdish movements and Kurdish political parties as well as the internalization
of many aspects of the process of direct democracy by these parties, further complicate
the situation. However, the informal emerging consensus among observers is that the
majority of decision-making procedures is direct democracy in one way or another; that
most of these decisions are made at the local level; and that decisions are taken from the
base, according to the federal structure.
Because the assemblies and the DTK is coordinated by illegal KCK, which includes the PKK,
they are designated as "terrorists" by Turkey and the so-called international community
(EU, USA and others). The DTK also selects candidates of the BDP, the pro-Kurdish party
(Party for Peace and Democracy) to the Turkish Parliament, which offers "democratic
autonomy" for Turkey, a combination of representative democracy and democracy Direct. In
accordance with the federal model, it proposes the creation of about 20 regions
autogouverneraient directly (as the anarchist scheme, not Switzerland) "education, health,
culture, agriculture, industry, social services and security, women's issues, Youth and
Sports", with the state continuing to conduct "foreign affairs, finance and defense."
The social revolution is taking off
Meanwhile, on the ground, the revolution has already begun. In Turkish Kurdistan, there is
an independent educational movement "academies" that organizes forums and seminars in
neighborhoods. In the municipality of Safe Amed [Kurdish name Diyarbak?r NdT], where a
street is called "Street Culture", the mayor Abdullah Demirbas welcomes the "diversity of
religions and belief systems" and declares that "We started to restore a mosque, a
Catholic church Chaldeo- araméenne-, an Armenian Orthodox church and a Jewish synagogue".
Jongerden and Akkaya reported elsewhere that "the DTP municipalities have launched a"
multilingual municipal services, "which sparked heated debate. Panels municipal indicators
were erected in Kurdish and Turkish, and local businesses have followed suit".
Women's liberation is followed by the women themselves through the initiatives of the
Council of Women of DTK, which establishes new rules "quotas for women forty percent" in
the assemblies. If an official beats his wife, his salary is transferred directly to the
battered woman to maintain their financial security and its use as it sees fit. "In Gewer
if the husband takes a second wife, half his estate will go to first. "
There are "Peace Villages" community cooperatives, new or rebuilt, applying their own
program completely outside the logistical constraints of the Kurdish-Turkish war. The
first of these communities has been built in the province of Hakkari, bordering Iraq and
Iran, where "several villages" have joined the experiment. In the province of Van, "an
ecological village women" is being built to house the victims of domestic violence,
self-sufficient "for all or almost all the electricity needed."
KCK holds meetings twice a year in the mountains with hundreds of delegates from each of
the four countries, with priority on its agenda, the threat of the Islamic State to the
autonomy of Kurdistan southern and western. Iranian and Syrian parties affiliated to the
KCK, the PJAK (Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan) and PYD (Democratic Union Party) also
highlight the democratic confederalism. The Iraqi party of the KCK, the PCDK (Party for a
democratic solution of Kurdistan) is relatively small because the (centrist KDP) Kurdistan
Democratic Party in power and its leader Massoud Barzani, president of Iraqi Kurdistan,
has only recently stopped harassing him and began to tolerate.
But in the mountainous regions of Iraqi Kurdistan to the north, to where most of the
guerrillas and guerrilla PKK and PJAK, radical literature and assemblies flourish, with
the integration of many Kurds from the mountains after decades of travel. In recent weeks,
these activists have descended from the northern mountains to fight alongside the
peshmerga against the Iraqi EIIL, saving 20,000 Yezidis and Christians in the mountains of
Sinjar and were visited Barzani in a public display gratitude and solidarity, but
especially to Turkey and the United States in a quandary.
Syrian PYD followed the example of Turkish Kurdistan in the revolutionary transformation
of the autonomous region under its control since the outbreak of the civil war. After the
"mass arrests" of Baathist repression, with "10,000 prisoners, including Mayors, local
party leaders, elected officials, executives and activists [...] PYD Kurdish forces
overthrew the regime of the party Baas in northern Syria, or Western Kurdistan, [and]
local councils have hatched everywhere. " The Self-Defense Committees were improvised to
provide "security after the fall of the Baathist regime" and "the first school teacher
Kurdish" was established at the same time that the advice intervened in the equitable
distribution of the bread and gasoline.
In Kurdistan of Turkey, Syria, and to a lesser extent in Iraqi Kurdistan, women are now
free to expose and strongly encouraged to participate in social life. The old feudal ties
are broken, people are free to follow any religion or none, and ethnic and religious
minorities coexist peacefully. If they are able to contain the new caliphate, the autonomy
of PYD in Syrian Kurdistan and the influence of KCK in Iraqi Kurdistan could serve as a
catalyst for a deeper explosion of culture and revolutionary values.
June 30, 2012, the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change (NCB), the
largest coalition of the revolutionary left in Syria, whose PYD is the main group, adopted
"the draft democratic self and democratic confederalism as a possible model for Syria ".
Defend the Kurdish revolution against the Islamic state
Turkey, meanwhile, has threatened to invade the Kurdish regions if "terrorist bases were
located in Syria", when hundreds of fighters KCK (including PKK) across the Kurdistan
crossing the border defend Rojava (west) face of the advance of the Islamic State. The PYD
says the moderate Islamist government of Turkey is already engaged in a proxy war against
them, facilitating the transit of international jihadists across the border to help fight
alongside the Islamists.
In Iraqi Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, whose guerrillas fought with Turkey against the PKK
in the 1990s in exchange for access to Western markets, called for a "Kurdish united
front" in Syria through an alliance with PYD. Barzani had signed in 2012 with Salih
Muslim, leader of PYD, the "Erbil Agreement" form the Kurdish National Council and
recognizing that "all parties are serious and determined to continue to work together".
Yet as the study and practice of libertarian socialist ideas among management and the
basics of KCK is certainly a positive development, it remains to be seen how far this
influence is serious enough to abandon their bloody authoritarian past. The Kurdish
struggle for self-determination and cultural sovereignty is a glimmer of hope amid the
dark clouds are gathering over the Islamic state and inter-fascist bloody wars between
Islamism and Baathism religious sectarianism that gave them birth.
A socially progressive and secular pan-Kurdish revolution, with libertarian socialist
elements, unifying the Iraqi and Syrian Kurds and conditioner struggles in Turkey and Iran
can still be a prospect. Meanwhile, those of us who like the idea of civilization must
acknowledge their gratitude to the Kurds, who are fighting on the front lines day and
night against jihadist Islamist fascism in Syria and Iraq, defending the values of their
lives of radical democracy.
"Kurds have no friends but the mountains"
- Kurdish Proverb
Rafael Taylor is a libertarian socialist activist and freelance journalist living in
Melbourne. He is also host of the radio show "Floodgates of Anarchy," a member of the
ASF-IWA (AIT) and coordinator of the Alliance of the Libertarian Left in Melbourne.
Source: http: //roarmag.org/2014/08/pkk-Kurd...
Translation: XYZ / OCLibertaire
To go further...
Recent articles on the same topic
The new war in Iraq: Kurds against jihadists
The events of Sinjar and Iraq in recent days
Kurds between Islamist attacks and political progress
Already published articles on the same topic
The "silent revolution" of Syrian Kurds
Alternative Current 233, October 2013 Dossier Syria - A breath of life between Assad and
the jihadists? - The Kurdish movement at a crossroads
Kurdish / Syria - The final phase Rojava
Confederalism democratic, political proposal releasing the left Kurdish
Rebels against the binary vision / plan of resistance
What future for the Kurds of Syria?
Kurdistan - "We like free women to free society"
Syria: The perfect response
PKK: an intervention in Syria will trigger a regional war
General mobilization of the Kurds against the creation of an Islamic state in Syria
A Zapatista Syria?
Kurds: "The greatest people in the world without a state"
The Kurdish question and anarchism
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